Midway College ended fiscal year 2013-14 with a balanced budget after having a $1.8 million deficit in the previous year, President John Marsden said in a news release.
"In our industry, living within your means is essential. By making significant operational changes and tough decisions, the college had a balanced budget for FY 13-14," Marsden said in the news release.
The Woodford County college had experienced significant losses after it discontinued pursuit of a school of pharmacy in Eastern Kentucky and went through a period of declining enrollment.
The college's enrollment this fall is 1,140, down from 1,362 last fall. Enrollment in the women's college remained stable at 294 (up 2 percent from the previous fall, with 17 more students living in residence halls this year).
The overall decrease in enrollment was due to a decline in the number of non-traditional students who attend night classes at Midway. The non-traditional market has seen a national decline of 6 percent in the over-24 age group, as reported in May by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
To balance the budget, Marsden released 14 faculty members from contracts, suspended the employee retirement match, outsourced dining and physical plant services, established a new tuition payment process to improve current-year collections, and implemented better collection procedures from previous years with significant balances due.
"Had those changes not been made, we would not have been able to balance our budget," Marsden said in the news release.
The college also created a new non-credit college readiness program that brought 26 full-paying students from Panama who will matriculate into undergraduate programs at the institution.
Marsden said that partnership "generated significant revenue that helped the college balance its budget."
The college has also secured funding for a study-abroad component of its equine program in conjunction with the University of Panama School of Veterinary Medicine and Cerro Punta Horse Farm.
In addition, fundraising efforts showed a 60 percent increase from fiscal year 2012-13 to F.Y. 2013-14.
Marsden said the college is "likely to have a balanced operational budget for F.Y. 2014-15 due to the practices and business operations we have put in place over the last year."
In addition, "while the last year primarily focused on cost-saving measures, Midway College is continuing to focus on revenue drivers," Marsden said. "We already have put a work group together to look at new programs and program format changes that we can make to be more competitive in the nontraditional market in the coming years, and our admissions team continues working to recruit students in all of our programs."
Donna Moore, chairwoman of the Midway College Board of Trustees, said in the news release that the board supports Marsden and employees "who are focused on helping move the institution forward."
"The improvements and progress we have seen this year are encouraging," Moore said.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by seven former employees who claim that the school breached their contracts and committed age discrimination by terminating them is pending in Woodford Circuit Court.
Judge Paul Isaacs overruled the college's motion in the spring to seal the entire public record of the lawsuit, but in August the judge signed an order allowing certain financial information and documents to be designated and labeled as "confidential."